RHOM Season 3 Ep 6 “A Cause for Concern”

Miami's social elite descend upon the Blacks' Annual Gala.

Miami’s social elite descend upon the Blacks’ Annual Gala.

By Lesley Rousso

We begin with Lea who is busy recleaning for her maid Freda. Lea calls Alexia, who clearly has a terrible cold. Lea, however, is visibly annoyed when Alexia tells her she is planning on attending the Gay Polo event before the gala. Alexia promises to only be gone a couple of hours and says she will make it to the event.

Meanwhile, at the Hochsteins, Lisa and Lenny arrive home from the fertility specialist and Lisa tells us they’ve decided to go ahead and use a surrogate this time around. Lisa is still clearly bothered and tells Lenny that he’ll never understand and he agrees. He points out though that they have failed every time. Lisa is very upset though as she want so badly to be pregnant.

The Lea Black Victims Club, as they call themselves, hop onto a party bus, complete with stripper pole, and head to Gay Polo. Alexia, despite feeling ill, says she’s too afraid to cancel on them. They sound like fun friends! Lauren Foster joins them and it makes for an interesting ride. Adriana rehashes the argument she and Frederic had in French with Romain at the Venue party. On the ride up, it starts to pour and the party bus springs a leak. Classy. The ladies arrive and head to the VIP tent and meet up with some interesting characters. This is after all, Gay Polo. Adriana’s friend Jonathan decides to stir the pot and asks who is going to Lea’s gala. The other girls take jabs at Lea and Alexia remains silent. Alexia is freaking out because she needs to tell them she is going to the gala. As they start to get on the bus, Alexia tells them she is going with the driver Herman arranged to pick her up and is going to the gala. The girls are pissed and say that Alexia is playing both sides of the fence.

Over at the Fontainebleau, just hours before the gala, Lea meets with Beth, her book editor. During the conversation, it appears that Lea has actually morphed into comedienne Amy Phillips. All the blinking and loud talking, I almost can’t take it. Then there’s a knock at the door and Lea opens it to American Idol winner Tayor Hicks. Lea tells us that Taylor has just this one night off to perform at the Gala. I’m guessing dinner theatre must have been closed that night. Lea’s jeweler Jeffrey Rackover then pops in with about a gazillion dollars worth of diamonds for Lea to borrow for the event. Lots more screaming now. Oy vey, I’m getting a headache.

Lisa gets ready for the gala, steaming the housewife favorite, green Stella McCartney dress. Lenny comes in with a surprise, a “feel better” diamond necklace. And I mean a DIAMOND necklace. Lisa and Lenny arrive at the Fontainebleau and Lisa heads up  to Lea’s room. Lea is wearing a crazy matronly black fit and flair(?)/mermaid gown. Lea shows Lisa all of her many jewels. The difference is, as Lisa points out, they are borrowed, Lisa owns her necklace. Lisa asks what happened at the Venue party and once again Lea does her Amy Phillips impression, telling Lisa about the argument in French.

Back on the leaky party bus, the girls continue to berate Alexia for going to the gala. They tell her she got played by Lea and Lea always gets what she wants. Alexia tells them to grow up because it’s not about winning or losing and exits the bus. Alexia arrives at home feeling terrible both literally and figuratively. She calls Lea, who is carrying a gigantic purse, and tells her she’s too sick to attend. Seriously, the purse is bigger than Lisa.

Now, the gala is in full swing. Lea and company are working the step and repeat, Joanna  shows up looking gorgeous and there’s a surprise appearance by last seaons’s cast off Karent Sierra. Other guests include Lance Bass, Dennis Rodman, Elaine Lancaster, and my close friends Jennifer and Barry Gould. Dinner is served and the live auction begins. Cue the silence. Really, no one is bidding. Lisa models a bracelet that is valued at $75K. They get a bid of $10K. Lea is not thrilled. Mercifully the auction ends but not before a lady donates $10,000 for the “most beautiful Polish girl in the room”,  Joanna Krupa. Flo-Rida takes the stage and we catch a glimpse of Roy Black dancing. He takes his shirt off, Flo-Rida, not Roy and Lea again does her best Amy Phillips impression yet.  The episode fades out as the other girls take the party bus home.

Next week: Lea and Alexia attend the same party, Lenny’s parents come to visit, Frederic and Romain have a sit down and Joanna is crying. .

In The Black- An Interview With RHOM’s Lea Black

imageWith a third season on the air, a skincare line, and a unique handbag collection Real Housewife of Miami’s Lea is “in the black”. For those watching the show, you also know she is in the drama, this is Miami after all. Very composed and professional she’s not the easiest Bravoleb to get the dish from, but she kindly answered our questions about Season 3, her falling out with Adriana, her businesses, and her charity work. Take a look…”Bienvenido a Miami!”

TBB: Congratulations on the new season! You’ve been a Miami Housewife since the beginning, however your franchise has the highest turnover with cast even going out and coming back. Why is that?

LB: Some of it is circumstances amongst the girls within their lives. I also feel that Bravo wants to showcase the diversity of Miami and they are established enough to pick and choose who they want to be on the show.

TBB: You look a little different this season. What has changed about your look?

LB: (laughs) Oh I don’t know, I think I probably look the same. Most of the clothes I’ve had for years. I did shorten and straighten my hair a bit but it did grow back out again.

TBB: The big storyline right now is the fallout between you and Adriana (DeMoura). Do you feel she took advantage of you?

LB: I think that she wasn’t completely honest with me. Underneath all that is more than just the marriage – it was the backstabbing that went on right after she had the confrontation with Joanna (Krupa). That’s what started it all. The marriage was one more revelation about who she was and how she’d been acting.

TBB: In the third episode Frederic (Marq) said he was going to send you a threatening text. Did that text ever materialize?

LB: No (laughs) That’s funny.

TBB: Right now it appears the cast is split into two camps, yours being with Lisa (Hochstein) and Joanna. What is it about these two ladies that has bonded you with them?

LB: I just find they are refreshing and just want to have fun. They aren’t strategizing anything or trying to hurt anybody. I just want to have fun.

TBB: We haven’t seen Elaine Lancaster (aka James Davis) yet this season. Will she be back?

LB: James is in it a few times and I believe Elaine was at the fashion show in the beginning – and of course you will see Elaine at the Gala!

TBB: Speaking of that, you are in charge of one of the biggest fundraiser galas on the Miami Social Scene (The Blacks’ Annual Gala). For anyone who doesn’t know tell us about your charity.

LB: We raise money to help keep kids in school and out of jail. We have been able to help thousands by working with after-school programs. It is cheaper to keep these children in school rather than send them to jail. If one kid goes to jail there will be a whole aftermath that will affect the course of his life, and if he stays in school there will be a better outcome. If we can change the world one kid at a time – well what better thing than that to put our time into?

TBB: Have any of the children you have helped come back to tell you about the difference you made in their lives?

LB: Yes they often do. We’ve had some of them speak at The Gala. Some have gone on to graduate college.

TBB: Outside of Housewives you have a couple of business ventures. One is a skincare line, Lea Black Beauty. How did that develop?

LB: I developed my skincare line in the 80’s. During the last couple of years new technology has developed and I’ve added new products. The line includes moisturizer, a serum and face wash and it’s all available at theworldofleablack.com and leablackbeauty.com. I’m really focused on online distribution because I want to make it affordable and available to everyone. However, if stores contact us we can make it available to them, the ones that have sold it have done really well with it.

TBB: Can you tell us about some of the products?

LB: The facial kit is something you can use once or twice a week to lift and tighten. The moisture cream increases the moisture in your skin 400%. I have the clinical studies to support that. Everyone needs a really good face wash which we have as well as an exfoliant that helps slough off dead skin cells. The products will be showcased on the show, so stay tuned!

TBB: You also have a handbag line, Lea Black Handbags. The purse business is a very difficult one to break into as many of the designers have been established for decades and beyond. Other Housewives have tried to break in. What makes your bags different?

LB: My bags are glamourous, timeless “after hours” bags – they’re multi-functional and many women use them in the daytime too. They really are show stoppers and are very affordable in the – $100 to $500 range. I started designing them for myself because I found that it’s hard to find a bag that everything fits into that won’t be out of style in a year or two. I created timeless pieces that you can wear with a pair of jeans or an evening gown. Everyone wants to invest in a bag that won’t become outdated.

TBB: There are so many more questions we’d like to ask you and we hope you will come back and speak with us after Season 3 wraps. Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

LB: Follow me on twitter @LeaBlackMiami and visit theworldofleablack.com to check out the beauty and handbag lines, as well as my pillows and cuffs! I hope you all enjoy the season and that we keep you entertained and wanting more!

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Lauren Leads The Way

Lauren Foster is accustomed to breaking barriers. In the 80s she was the first transgendered woman to model for VOGUE (Mexico). Now she is setting the stage for members of the LGBT community once more as the first transgendered woman on the Housewives series, with her turn as a supporting cast member on The Real Housewives of Miami. Lauren tells us about her really fascinating journey from modeling to reality TV!

 

TBB: Hello Lauren. You were born in South Africa. When did you move to the United States and do you still visit South Africa often?

 

LF:  I left South Africa in 1978 and lived in Paris and London, but something about New York and America always appealed to me. I fell in love with New York immediately. I was at the right place at the right time and fell into an amazing scene, hanging out at places like Studio 54 and Paradise Garage. As much as I loved it, however, I found (the pace of) New York to be very fast. I left in the latter part of 1979 and spent a long time in LA with frequent trips home. I always had the safety net of a wonderful home and family to fall back on.  I still visit South Africa. I have a condo in Cape Town and I go for the holidays every year. This year, however, I’m going to Sao Paulo for Christmas and Rio for New Year’s with five of my best friends. It will be the first time in years that I won’t be in Cape Town for New Year’s.

 

TBB: How did you end up settling in Miami?

 

LF: I was working for a plastic surgeon on Madison Avenue and spending the weekends on Fire Island. A friend and I just happened to be guests of the same house on the island and we were up late one night, chatting. We discussed his plans of opening an anti-aging clinic in the Four Seasons in Miami and he offered me a position there.  He is a true visionary but it was one of those instances where you think ‘How flattering, but that will never happen’. A year later, however, The Institute was completed and I moved to Miami. That was nine years ago and I’m still with them.

 
TBB: Did you meet your husband (James Foster) in Miami?

LF: No, we met in LA years ago. We were friends at first and he forged a great relationship with my parents, especially my mother. When my mother passed away suddenly, I was devastated. My parents were always amazing, I was very lucky that they have been behind me in everything I’ve done. Foster (no one calls him James) always promised my mother that he would take care of me. He is a super sweet man.  We married in 1996.

 
TBB: Your parents truly were supportive; they paid for your gender reassignment. What do you have to say to someone who is struggling with gender identity but lacks that support?
 

LF: You can find that support in your friends. No matter what advice anyone gives you, you must be true to yourself and follow your instincts. I’ve learned this since losing my parents. My brother, sister in law, niece and nephew are in Sydney. So my family now is my husband and close friends. I sometimes counsel people going through what I did and I tell them to find that “family” in friends and support groups. I’m using Real Housewives as a platform for the LGBT community. (Laughs) Sounds like a sandwich right?  

 

TBB: You underwent gender reassignment in your youth. Doctors discovered you had Klinefelter’s syndrome (an XXY chromosomal pairing). Can you tell us how that diagnosis changed your life?
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LF: It didn’t change my life but it was definitely an affirmation of who I was and how I felt. I never identified as male and my parents let me live in that little bubble. I have a picture of myself at two years old. I’m on the front lawn in a pinafore, looking at a toy truck and a plastic Barbie purse. I have an expression on my face, like I am thinking, “Which one am I going to choose?” I’m thinking of using it as the cover for my book.

 

TBB: You are writing a book! When will that be available?
 

 

LF: I have no idea (laughs)! I’m writing chapters, making notes. But with life, family, and constant traveling it gets complicated. As I remember an incident I’ll think “Oh that’s a good one”and I’ll put into the Notes app on my iPhone. Eventually I will have to put it all together, though I don’t think I’ll be able to write it myself.

 

TBB: I’m sure it will be a very intriguing read. You are the first transsexual woman to be featured in an editorial in VOGUE Mexico, yet VOGUE was unaware of you being transgendered at the time. A journalist uncovered your past and broke your story. How did the fashion world react when you came forward?

Original 1984 Vog editorial photo.

LF: You have to understand that when that happened there was no social media. Originally I had told my story to a journalist in South Africa. In 1984 I was asked to do an editorial for Vog clothing. Someone saw the spread and called in saying “Do you know this model was once a man?” My agent told me to tell my story in my own words, but the journalist sold the story to Reuters, which is basically selling it to the world. There was a double page spread that read “VOGUE model was a Man!” However, unlike now when you tweet something, it doesn’t live forever. I worked in Greece, Paris, Mexico, all over the map, I would spend about 4 to 8 months in each city.

 

TBB: Do you think it is a kinder world for transgendered models today?
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LF: I do think that women like myself and Teri Toye have paved the way for this new generation of TG models  like Lea T. and Andrej Pejic. Andrej is amazing. 

 
TBB: How did you start modeling?
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LF: Leigh Downing gave me my first opportunity when I was about 18, right around the time of my surgery.  I graduated high school early and studied drama for 6 months before I signed up with The Leigh Downing Agency in Durban. My first modeling gig  was for factory machinery, I’m still laughing about it and still have the picture!

 
TBB: You, along with Renee Richards, are among the first people to give a voice to the transgendered community. You have spent some time counseling others going through or contemplating gender reassignment. How have you seen the strength of the community and acceptance evolve in recent years?

 

LF: I am so proud to be a part of that community now because of the work we have all invested in it.

 Lauren is a beautiful, passionate and smart woman who has not only helped our organization, but our entire community,” says GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “Bravo has long had its pulse on pop culture and we hope to see more of Lauren on their Real Housewives franchise. We think it would be a powerful decision for them to include her and represent all women, including those who are transgender.”

TBB: We are definitely seeing more role models for the transgendered community. Dancing With The Stars had Chaz Bono on the show and now you are the first transgendered woman on the Real Housewives franchise. How did the opportunity arise?

LF: I am very good friends with Marysol (Patton). I was invited to a  luncheon for the launch of Lisa Pliner’s  fab new shoe collection. Marysol called me up and said “I’d love for you to come with me”.We spend a lot of fun times out together. The producers of the show wanted me miked. They knew, I knew Elaine (Lancaster) and that Marysol was being badgered by him. It was my first time being miked and I forgot it was on. When I saw the episode I thought ‘I can’t believe I said that!’ But, you know, if anything, it was authentically me.

 
TBB:  Speaking of Housewives, how are you getting along with James Davis, AKA Elaine Lancaster these days? I’ve heard rumors that you are good friends, but you clearly were not happy with him at Lisa Pliner’s event.

LF: I was friends with him. Right now, the temperature is a little high but things will even out. We have called a truce and I wish him the best of everything.

 
TBB: This second season of Real Housewives of Miami is almost finished. Will we see you on in future seasons or any other TV shows in the works?

LF: I think I’m in one more episode, at The Patton Group’s 10thanniversary party. I’m friends with all the girls. They are amazing. Three of them; Marysol, Ana (Quincoces)  and Alexia (Echevarria) even flew to NY to be at a GLAAD event in support of me and the LGBT community. They are 3 very elegant, gracious women and I’m honored to call them friends.
 

TBB: Do you think there will soon be a transgendered Housewife?

 

LF: I don’t know about a Housewife, but a character, maybe!

 

TBB: Would you be a Housewife if asked?

 

LF: Who could say “no” to that? I would be flattered. I think the producers (Purveyors of Pop), Andy Cohen and the Bravo network have their finger on the pulse of the reality world.  Just the small part I’ve had has been rewarding because it is shedding light on the community that I represent. I am humbled by the attention and hope that something good happens because of it.

 

 

TBB: You’ve only appeared in a couple of episodes yet you’re a big hit with the fans. How does that feel?

 

 

LF: It feels amazing. I’m overwhelmed!? It’s a whole new world with social media.
I lived under the radar for so long, then after my first divorce I said, “Fuck that!” Accept me as I am and if not, so what?


 
TBB: Thank you for talking with me today. Is there anything else you would like people to know?
 

LF: I will be working with GLAAD and Herndon Graddick (GLAAD’s president) on some exciting new initiatives for the LGBT community which will be announced soon. I am very thankful to Bravo, Andy Cohen, and Purveyors of Pop for giving me this platform and, of course, Marysol for reaching out to me.

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